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Letters

  • Get facts straight about charter question 2

    Today, I received a mass-mailing campaign letter at my work email address at the Department of Public Utilities. As a project manager at the DPU, I could not help but read the letter and was aghast at the misleading manner in which the information was presented.
    As a county employee, it is highly frowned upon to get involved with political matters, but this one has to do with the Charter Amendment No. 2, so much information is being presented about how the Utilities Board and the DPU operate and make decisions. Getting to the point, the email contained a letter to the editor that simply misrepresents the facts and the way that the county council and utilities board interact and worse, how the utility board and the DPU operate.
    I would encourage interested voters to look at the DPU’s website for a more clear picture of the facts and the transparency of the DPU and the utilities board:
    losalamosnm.us/UTILITIES/Pages/default.aspx.

    Clay Moseley
    Los Alamos 

  • County's utility board should be held accountable

    Let’s see if I’ve got this right: we don’t trust the county council that we elected; we do trust the utility board appointed by the council.
    We can recall elected officials but not the utility board. The council can appoint but not remove utility board members.
    Council meetings are televised. Utility Board meetings are not.
    Everyone has a boss. Private utility companies are held accountable by state regulatory agencies and boards of directors. Our public utility needs to be accountable to the council.
    The fundamental issue that charter amendment 2 addresses is accountability of the utility board. Once appointed, board members determine utility department policy with very little interaction with council other than the annual budget approval process.
    Charter amendment 2 defines a process for resolving differences between the board and council and gives the council authority to remove a board member with a super majority vote of 6 to 1. The autonomy of the Utility Department will be preserved to the extent allowed by state statute. Charter amendment No. 2 will ensure council and public input to our publicly owned utility.
    I believe the current Charter Article V is broken. It is time to fix it. Please vote for charter amendment No. 2.
    Mike Wheeler
    Los Alamos
     

  • Vote 'yes' on Amendment 2

    On behalf of Northern New Mexico College and the Board of Regents, I urge voters in the upcoming election to support Amendment 2 to grant Northern a voting student regent. Northern is the only four-year college in New Mexico without a voting student regent, a role that I believe is essential in representing the student perspective in administrative decision making.
    This position also provides students with an important leadership opportunity that benefits them later in life.
    I thank you for voting in support of expanding opportunities for New Mexico students and assisting us in our mission of ensuring access to higher education in our state.

    Nancy “Rusty” Barceló,
    President, Northern New Mexico College
     

  • Amendment 5 doesn't help

    Nearly every elected official or candidate tells us that they are going to create jobs and strengthen the economy of New Mexico and the United States.
    In reality, their actions seldom support their rhetoric. The proposed Amendment 5 to the New Mexico constitution in this year’s general election is a prime example.
    Amendment 5 would change the rules that regulate the investments of the New Mexico Land Grant Permanent Fund. Apparently, the amendment supports good intentions: to reduce risk to the fund and to produce a more reliable income stream to educate our children without raising our taxes.
    There is one major inconsistency: the amendment would remove the 15 percent upper limit on the book value of investments in “international funds”, i.e., funds that are based in all countries, except the U.S.
    Does it make sense to educate our children for jobs in the U.S. when the state of New Mexico is investing in and creating jobs in other countries — and not the U.S.?
    Apparently, Governor Martinez, Ray Powell, and the legislature didn’t “think the issue through,” or they don’t really believe the U.S. has a future.
    Vote “no” on Amendment 5.
    Joe D’Anna
    Los Alamos
      

  • Charter Chapter V — utilities, a reality check

    Several former members of the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) fear that the rewritten Charter Chapter V will result in council imposing hidden taxes and wildly increased utility rates, transferring utility revenues to the county general fund, overturning BPU membership for political reasons and unilateral control of BPU operations.

  • Charter amendment debate continues

    Since the Oct. 14 letter to the Los Alamos Monitor from Morris Pomgratz mentioned my name I feel it is appropriate to comment.
    First I have already voted “yes,” and encourage others to vote “yes.”
    I believe that the proposed charter amendment is far from perfect. I would have worded some parts differently. But it is an improvement over the existing charter. It places ultimate responsibility and accountability, in the event of a dispute between the council and the utilities board, in the hands of the council, who are the elected representatives of the public. And the public should have ultimate responsibility.
    Various letters to the Monitor, and presentations at the LWV forum, have provided extensive detailed comments, and have hypothesized different extreme actions by the council or the utilities board to support their positions. These hypothesizes are highly unlikely, but are within the “possibility” envelope. Therefore it is appropriate that a revision to the charter that is limited, restricted and establishes an open dispute resolution process be approved.
    The proposed charter changes meet these criteria. Ultimate responsibility and accountability should be reserved for the council, acting as the elected representatives of the public.

  • 9/11 not comparable to charter vote

    Wow! Congratulations to George Chandler for somehow connecting 9/11, the BP oil spill, the alleged W-88 “theft,” and damage from Katrina to why we should vote “yes” on Charter Amendment 2!
    He forgot Watergate and the Ebola outbreak in Africa, but maybe he is saving those for a later letter.
    In the interest of space, let me just respond to the 9/11 claim. If you think the billions and billions of dollars spent on an ill-conceived Department of Homeland Security because of 9/11 is a good use of our tax dollars, then maybe you agree with George that it is OK for utility funds to be used for whatever the county council wishes.
    If you think the billions and billions of dollars spent on the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan (to say nothing of the loss of life) because of 9/11 were great ideas, then maybe you agree with George.
    But if you want utility funds to be used for utilities, then vote “no.”
    Wayne Hardie
    Los Alamos
     

  • If it ain't broke...

    Here’s some stuff that wasn’t “broke”:
    • Airport security before 9/11
    • BP procedures for supervising its contractors before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
    • Nuclear weapons security before a defector walked into our embassy with design information about the W-88.
    • Mississippi levees and floodwalls before Hurricane Katrina
    Get the idea? The Utilities Charter Amendment No. 2 is preventive maintenance.
    Please don’t let cynicism and a false narrative about the council stop you from voting for clearly necessary preventive maintenance.
    The smart thing to do is to fix the Charter before the problems occur.
    I’m voting for Charter Amendment 2.
    George Chandler
    Los Alamos
     

  • One-sided story on solar power

    I found Los Alamos Monitor’s story on solar power systems somewhat one-sided. While much emphasis was placed on the issues the Department of Public Utilities has with grid based solar power systems, little attention was paid to the customer’s perspective.
    I first started thinking seriously about a solar power system for our home when a few years ago, the power frequently failed in our neighborhood because of problems associated with the Department of Public Utilities aging infrastructure.
    At the time, I considered a grid-based solar photovoltaic (PV) system, but they weren’t quite cost effective at that time. That has all changed in the last few years and as a result, I recently installed one.
    Current PV systems have guaranteed lifetimes in excess of 20 years and payouts in less than half that time. The growth in installed grid based PV systems has been exponential over the last several years, and for good reason, they reduce the cost of electricity to customers.
    There is also a certain satisfaction in generating one’s own electricity with a PV system. Besides saving money, it is a small step towards a greener planet and it also creates that feeling of independence that we Americans love.

  • Barking dog ordinance is being ignored

    We extend our support and sympathy to those individuals and families who are frustrated with the difficulty of enforcing the nuisance dog barking ordinance and the lack of sensitivity and cooperation on the part of dog owners who continue to allow their dogs to bark and annoy others.
    We know it can be a lonely battle. It’s one we’ve been fighting for more than four years with considerable, but not total, success. The responses we have received from dog owners have run the gamut from sincere apologies accompanied by homemade muffins and an immediate trip to Albuquerque to get barking collars to complete denial, rude dismissals and accusations of harassment. One owner has even suggested that since we are so bothered, it must be our own fault.
    A 30-minute allowable time limit for barking is ridiculous. If one waits 30 minutes after a dog begins barking before calling Animal Control and it takes them an hour to get there because they are busy doing something else, then they have to personally witness the barking for yet another 30 minutes, that means two hours have gone by while neighbors are subjected to this incredibly annoying noise. We have no complaint against the law enforcement officials except that they do not seem to enforce the citation part of the policy consistently.